Questions and Answers
The Relationship in Movement Approach provides group classes and workshops for couples, as well as private couples therapy, in which Contact Dance Improvisation is used to explore relationship principles and dynamics.
Contact Dance Improvisation is a social dance involving touch in which momentum between two or more people is used to create and inspire dance movements. The dance form is practiced with or without music. Techniques include rolling point of contact, balancing over a partner’s centre of gravity, following momentum, and “listening” with one’s skin surface. Contact dance Improvisation is accessible to people with no previous dance training and people with disabilities. It is dance form that crosses the gender gap attracting equal numbers of men and women.
The Relationship in Movement Approach is for couples who want to become more aware of their relationship patterns. Relationships can be friendship, family, collegial or romantic. Both new relationships and long term relationships are welcome. Workshop are also sometimes offered to people registering on their own and in this context the work is about exploring relational tendencies for both strengths and areas of challenge.The practice is LGBT friendly.
In Relationship In Movement workshops and classes, particpants discover and play with how contact dance practices can act as metaphors for relationship dynamics. They learn how non-verbal communication through dance opens up a moving and beautiful “world” that people in relationships can co-create, share and learn from. The purpose is to help couples deepen their relationships and become aware of their patterns of relating. The approach provides an alternative way of working through issues in which movement is used on its own or in combination with talk-based processing.
In the Relationship in Movement approach, the patterns of our behaviour come out naturally through movements and their associated feelings. Noticing these patterns gives people a chance to describe them and talk with their partner about them. Then movements can be repeated in a slightly different way to see how that changes the experience. Movement can give couples news ways to see, understand and comunicate with each other that might have been unavailable through just talking.
RELATIONSHIP IN MOVEMENT: WORKING ON RELATIONSHIP ISSUES WITH COUPLES THROUGH CONTACT IMPROVISATION
(CQ CONTACT IMPROVISATION NEWSLETTER: WINTER/SPRING 2015 VOL. 40.1)
EXCERPT: "Over the last year, Kathleen Rea—an expressive arts therapist, author, contact dancer, and choreographer—and Brad Johnston—an embodied life coach and contact dancer in TORONTO, ONTARIO—have been developing an approach to working with people in relationships using principles of contact improvisation. We developed our approach through a process of dancing together and then talking about our dances. We both felt that movement dynamics involved in leading and following and in giving and taking weight were metaphors for what was happening in our growing friendship. We both became curious about how contact improvisation could illuminate relationship dynamics and facilitate learning for couples, and our respective expertise in coaching and therapy gave us the language and tools to do so..." READ FULL ARTICLE
The Relationship in Movement approach covers the range of couples looking to deepen and increase awarness of relational parterns to couples in crisis. We ask that couples in crisis talk with the facilitators to make sure the workshop, class or retreat they are interested in will work for them. Please note that sometimes couples in crisis are directed by facilitators to work privately with a member of our team who also is a registered pychotherapist prior to signing up for a workshop, class or retreat. To arrange for private couples counseling with the RIMA methods, see our facilitators page to see who might be a good fit.
We know many people have fears about being creative, being coordinated and being judged for their dancing or the way they move. Brad only began dancing when he was fifty years old because of these types of fears. We work very intentionally to make the workshops feel safe and easy. Your partner is welcome to talk with Kathleen or Brad about what to expect. To make connection with a partner through movement and touch is a deeply human experience that requires no previous skill or dance training. It is something that we all can do.
Do i have to learn dance steps?
There are no set steps or choreography to learn. Facilitators demonstrate movement scores and themes, and then participants dance within the frame of these suggestions. In the example show in the images below, the facilitator set up a dance in participants hold a stick between them and follow its movement. The participants are encouraged to find their comfort level within the suggestions the facilitator offers. For instance, this stick dance could be done with both participants sitting in chairs.
Couples may gain one or more of the following:
- ways of exploring relationship issues through movment, which can be used as an alternative to, or combination with, verbal communication.
- expanded range of physical playfulness in their relationship.
- deepening of awareness of relationship patterns and tendecies.
- deepening of understanding of the strengths one brings to their relationships.
- practising new ways of being and new ways or relating, which can draw forth new skills and strengths.